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Naming A Grandmother

Updated on July 5, 2014

Grandmother Names

What do you call your grandmother? Bubba, Bridie, Grandmother. Grammy, Nonie, Nanna, Mi,Grand-mère, Grand mutter, Grandma-ma. There are a lot of names for grandmothers, Grandmother names just happen don't they?

If you are the youngest you inherit whatever your older cousins and siblings call your grandmother. That puts the stress of a successful name of a grandmother to the first grand child..

The Introduction

We walked into the kids house and there was a bicycle trailer sitting in their living room. Odd! Why is there a children's bicycle trailer sitting there. We admire the trailer then notice a green baby blanket on the seat embroidered with Baby Specht. Does this mean what I think it means? Oh my we are going to be grandparents.

We eat dinner and Skype with my daughter-in-laws parents. She had sent an identical blanket to her parents.. They opened the package and asked if this meant they were going to be grandparents again? Then there was a lot of laughing and joy.

Presenting H..J.
Presenting H..J. | Source

What Do You Want The Baby To Call You

As I mentioned before I thought grand mother names just happened.

Was I wrong. Suddenly everyone wants to know what I want the baby to call me. As the youngest child I called my grandmother what my siblings and cousins called my grandma. She was, "Grandma". Plain and simple. My mom's mother lived in Massachusetts. She was called "Grandma" as well. She was never part of day to day operations,so we were never confused.

My daughter-in-law is from the south where tradition runs deep. Her mom would be Nanna because that was the order of things. Her older grandchildren already called her Nanna.

I hadn't the faintest idea what a grandchild of mine would call me. Kids don't talk for a year or so after birth so I thought I had time. My husband called his Irish grandmother Bridie, short for Bridget. Everyone called her Bridie except her children.. The first time I heard my mother-in-law call her mom I looked around to see who she was talking about. Nobody dared call her anything but Bridie. His German grandmother he called Grammy. I really liked her, so I started telling people "little dude" would call me Grammy.

Grammy is an award and I figured this grandchild my award for raising his dad.

H.J. at 18 months
H.J. at 18 months | Source

H.J. Starts Talking

H.J.arrived two and a half years ago. When he was 18 months old when you asked him who I was he would say,"Me". We noticed he called his little friend Savannah, "Nah" and grandpa was,"Pa". H.J. was calling me what his mom and dad called me. "Grammy". He couldn't say whole words, so he said the last syllable of words.

Then one day we were playing with the train tracks and he said, "You Mom". I gently said, I am mom, just not your mom. I am your daddy's mom and uncle Matt's Mom and Uncle Uncle's mom. I am your Grammy. He looked at me and said very adamantly. "You Mom". We finally figured out where that came from. When his dad calls me he always says, "Hi Mom, How you doing?" For awhile when my son while driving would call me on speaker phone and I would hear H.J. saying,"Hi Mom, How you do doing?"

H.J. and Pa riding Historic Niles Canyon Rrailway on H.J.'s 2nd birthday
H.J. and Pa riding Historic Niles Canyon Rrailway on H.J.'s 2nd birthday | Source

H.J. At Two

When H.J. was still two he was playing train track with uncle Matt when he went through the whole "You mom" litany. Matt said the same thing I did. She is my mom and your daddy's mom and uncle uncle's mom, but your Grammy. It was as though he had tested his hypothesis and discovered it correct. He then started calling me Jammy with Gammy sprinkled in occasionally. I got a kick out of being called Jammy. so I would call myself Jammy sometimes.

Look I am taller than my daddy's knees
Look I am taller than my daddy's knees | Source

H.J. At Two And A Half

H.J.'s language is evolving daily. Last week we were camping at a local lake. Ten mile from our house.. H.J. and baby RA spent one night with us. That night H.J. stayed up way past his bed time. Pa had a meeting and didn't get to the camp until 10 pm. All Pa wanted to do was sleep, so we put H.J. on his bed in the trailer. Ra had been asleep for a couple of hours in her crib. The lights had been off for five minutes when we hear a tiny voice say, "O----Man----I'm so scared. H.J. can be a little dramatic.

We were trying not to die laughing. He was very serious. I finally composed myself enough to say"H.J. do you want to come sleep with Jammy and Pa?" A little voice in the dark said, "Yes please". He sleeps just like his dad. I found his feet in my face a couple of times before baby RA woke us at 3;30 am. That is another story.

The next morning Pa was asking H.J. to do something and called me Jammy. H.J. corrected him and said"Granny"

Word Nerdy Family

What can I say, we are a word nerdy family. When I was a kid we sat around the dinner table with my cousins and uncle and played word games. Now H.J. is doing it. This is normal in developing speech. H.J. is a little advanced with his speech, but not as advanced as his friend Nah who is two weeks older and a girl.

He has it in his genes. His mommy's parents, Nanna and Poppi, or Pop- eye as his daddy likes to call his father-in-law, are writers and public speakers.

The naming of a Grandmother apparently can be guided by grandparents, but the ultimate decision is made by the first grand child. Whether H.J. decides to call me Jammy or Grammy it will be his decision. I may be leaning toward Jammy because it's different and I am kind of like that. It will be interesting to see what RA will call me, my guess it will be whatever H.J. decides


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    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      3 years ago from California

      chuckandus6, H.J. started calling me "My Grams", He called me grandma a day or so ago to see what I would think. I said I prefered grammy or My Grams. He called me grandma another time and when back to grammy/ jammy. His sister calls me "ma ma"

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 

      3 years ago from The Country-Side

      I call one grandmother Gram

      And the Other Nanny

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      My neighbors daughters call their grandma, Bevie, short for Beverly. It's what the parents wanted their daughters to call their grandma, because everyone calls her Bevie, it's adorable! My oldest granddaughter named me Mom! She calls her mother, mama and me, mom...we are trying to get her younger sister at 18 months, to call me Sunshine, the name my stepgrandkids call me and all the kids in the neighborhood. So at this time, I am mom and Sunshine :)

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      3 years ago from California

      Lissa Ree, I love your grandma's names. Thanks for visiting.

    • Lissa Ree profile image

      Lissa Ree 

      3 years ago from Wilmington, Delaware

      Great article. I found it very entertaining :) Two grandma's in my family are Mamé and Lola. French and Thai lol

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      3 years ago from California

      peachpurple, You have a sensible, easy solution. So glad you stopped in to visit.

    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my kids called my mom "Grandma" and my mother in law" Ah Ma" because my mom is english educated while my in law is chinese educated

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      3 years ago from California

      B Lucy, Thanks for visiting and sharing your story.

    • B Lucy profile image

      B Lucy 

      3 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

      This hub made me smile! My mother was intent on being called Grandma. However, when my daughter started speaking, she called her "Guppy". Mom would patiently pat herself on the chest staying "Grand-MA" for weeks on end. Then one day, my daughter started calling her "Gummy." Mom looked at me and said "I should have been happy with Guppy." = ) Thanks so much for this wonderful hub!!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love my grandma name which has bece my online name, too. My grandson is almost 15 and has called me "OhMe" since he started talking. He is our daughter's son and now our son and his wife are expecting twins. I am not sure what they will call me but I hope it is OhMe

    • Eiddwen profile image


      3 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and I am known as Nana but also Mamgu which is a welsh version.

      Thanks again for this great read.


    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a charming hub. I was just talking about this the other day with regard to the name my granddaughter will call me. We decided on Mimi. Nevertheless, you are quite correct; it is whatever she decides. I enjoyed your HJ stories…how lucky we are to be blessed with grandchildren. :-)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      "The naming of a Grandmother apparently can be guided by grandparents, but the ultimate decision is made by the first grand child." I expressed similar sentiments in "Promises to My Unborn Grandchild." Still waiting for mine to talk and anxious to hear how and what he would day. I enjoy reading about the delightful interaction between you and H J. How sweet!

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Vandynegl- Wow what a lot of grandparents names. Your family handles this well .

    • vandynegl profile image


      4 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Oh, my oldest child had 8 grandparents when he was born in 2007. My father was insisting he call him "Grandpa," which was incredibly boring for young grandpa of 50 (my opinion). Before my son spoke, we left it at that, but after he started uttering words, "Pa Pa" became the name! My father got over it and enjoys his special name!

      Now, my mother, on the other hand, didn't care what he called her. So, while riding in the car one day, he said, "Mee Mee" and that was that!

      The other 6 grandparents had their names given to them, since it would've been too confusing to have someone with the same names! So, we had "Grandma Michele," "Pappy Wayne," "Grammy," "Pappy Garry," "Pap Pap," and "Grandma Nae." All so unique in their own ways! (Both my husbands parents and mine were divorced and re-married, by the way!). Two of them are no longer with us, but we still talk about them frequently!

      Thanks for sharing your story!

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      WillStarr, Good to see you. Thanks for stopping

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Melissa Knight: Coach that baby. Pick a name and try it out on her. Who knows she might like it.

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Mzlizzy, Good evening. Grands are the best. I never met either of my grandfather's. Only met my Massachusetts grandma 4 times in my life. The California grandma was very close. She took care of me until I was 8.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Interesting, indeed. I had never given this much thought; like you, I figured it 'just happened.'

      My own paternal grandparents, I never knew; they died before I was born. (I suspect, however, that they would have been Grandmêre et Granpêre, being of French-Canadian birth.)

      My maternal grandparents lived cross-country in Massachusetts, so I saw them only for visits every few years. My grandfather was 'Grandpa,' his wife was my step-grandmother, and for reasons too complicated to explain here, she was "Nellie B." to the rest of the family; "grandma Nellie" to me.

      Now, when I had my kids, my mother was just 'Grandma' or 'Grammie.' The confusion came when my eldest had her kids. They had trouble with the concept of "Great-Grandma," as well as with pronunciation, so to them, she became, "Gee-Gee," (G.G.-- for Great Grandma.) Sadly, she did not live to see my other daughter's children, so who knows if that tradition would have simply carried on, or they would have come up with their own version--the first set of great-grandkids having been boys; the second set were girls, who are typically, as you point out, a bit more advanced in speech matters.

      Very interesting; voted up!

    • Melissa Knight profile image

      Melissa Knight 

      4 years ago from Murfreesboro, TN

      I love this beautiful Hub!!! I have a 10 month old granddaughter - my first - and I have no idea what I would like her to call me... My husband got lucky - we call him Papa homey (long story :) ), but I'm afraid I'm going to be stuck with gramma... I'm okay with it, but would have loved to come up with something a bit more unique.

      I love Jammy! I hope that's what you wind up being called, because it's just so sweet! Thank you for sharing your precious photos!

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      AliciaC: Good to see you. Jammy sounds sort of sticky but isn't that part of the fun of being a kid, getting sticky?

    • tirelesstraveler profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      FlourishAnyway: Thanks for visiting. Haven't seen H.J. in a week. They get home from Tomorrow. I leave for Alaska on Tuesday for three weeks.

      Jammy is going to have a hard time of it.

      BlossomSB: I love Gma. Good Day to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This is a great hub, and I like the uniqueness of Jammy. My daughter decided to call my mother Dawa for some reason, which is kind of cool because it has an unintended meaning of "medicine" or one who aids another. I love that the oldest kids in the family typically have grandma naming rights. Sharing this.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A lovely story and you tell it so well. Many years ago this was a problem with our children, but it ended up with Grandma and Grandpa for my parents and Grandy and Grandad for my husband's. Now I seem to be Granma for most of my grandchildren, although one lot that are teens now name me Gma in emails, so I sign back the same way!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a lovely hub. I agree with you - Jammy would be a great name!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Love this! Yes, whatever comes out of their mouth it seems. In my family we already had Grandma, Mema or Memaw, Granddaddy and Mama Jane. My mother-in-law wanted to be called Grandmother, but my daughter, who is the first grandchild called her Memaw or Mema and it took, as my daughter is 31 now! My son blessed me with three grandchildren and the first one called me Nanny and that stuck with all three : ) Being a grandparent is such a joy beyond my comprehension until I became one. It is a special love like no other too and one cannot describe to others until they find out on their own too.

      I love Jammy and Gammy, so sweet and precious.

      Blessings on grandmotherhood : )

      Voted up and more and away

    • WillStarr profile image


      4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      It was simply 'Gramma' and Grampa' for us. Good Hub!

    • profile image

      Ari VK 

      4 years ago

      My father was very set on being called "Big Papa" and since my nephew was the first grandchild he took to it and it stuck. He is called "Big Papa" by my oldest. My mother is "Grandma (name)" because that is what I called her around the kids. Although they do shorten to "Papa" and "Grandma" when they are with them, when they are at home they let us know which Papa and which Grandma they are talking about. (Our oldest, accustomed to a "Big Papa", then decided to name my husband's father "Little Papa". At first we were worried that he might take offense, he is of smaller stature than my father but not a small man. He embraced it fully, thankfully!) Enjoyable article!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We just went with names from national origin. Mutti for one grandma and b'a for the other. German for mom and Vietnamese for grandma. I think this is a very cool article.

    • moonlake profile image


      4 years ago from America

      My grandchildren call me Mimi I don't know why. My oldest granddaughter sometimes calls me Meams. The oldest grandchild is always the one that gets to pick the name for the grandmother and grandfather. My brother-in-laws grandchildren call him Sir. Enjoyed your story of your grandson. Voted up.


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